About 9 months after Matthew's diagnosis, a food allergy support group was formed in town (Bloomington, IN - where we used to live).
**Side note: if you happen to live nearby, check them out...an amazing group of allergy parents! They are Bloomington PoCHA (Parents of Children Having Allergies).
The founder of the group, Nicole, is the one who introduced me to Allerbling, and Matthew wears it often. Allerbling is a bright orange bracelet with holes in it. It is not the most fashionable color (that's not the point), but we love the bright orange because it really makes the bracelet standout.
Allerbling makes charms for you to insert into the holes so that you can customize the bracelet with your child's allergens. There are five holes in the bracelet, which allows for either five allergen charms or four allergen charms plus a medical alert charm. For us, five holes is not enough, but we also recognize that five holes likely accommodates the majority of their buyers. They also do not make charms for his less common allergens (peas and lentils). I suppose we could buy a second bracelet for the couple we haven't put on his bracelet...but I'm not too sure Matthew would go for that!
We use the wheat, soy, egg, and peanut charm, plus the medical alert charm. If you buy the full kit, it comes with those five charms, plus shellfish, tree nut, dairy, and fish charms. You can also purchase the above charms plus the following charms separately: sesame, corn, chocolate, strawberry, coconut, bee, and gluten free.
The bracelets come in four different sizes. Matthew just graduated from the extra small to the small bracelet. We also have the large bracelet (the full kit comes with small and large, and we bought the extra small separate).
We have enjoyed using Allerbling because we believe it is another source of protection for Matthew. He wears it to church and when we are going to unfamiliar places where people are not aware of his allergens. He doesn't wear it to school because everyone there knows about his allergies now. Allerbling has proven to be very durable - it has stood up very well considering it is being worn by a very active little boy! The charms are relatively easy to insert into the holes, and can also be removed easily when you need to change bracelet sizes. We have never had an issue with them coming out, and Matthew never tried to take them out - I also don't really think he could even if he tried.
Our only issues are that there aren't enough holes for all of his allergens (he has 8), and that they don't make charms for two of his allergens. They have a place on their site where you can request that they add a food to their selection - and I will admit that I have not done so. We use Allerbling to make people aware that he has allergies...we would NEVER rely on it to tell the whole story!
Overall, we have been VERY happy with Allerbling. It makes Matthew feel special - he has never balked at wearing it - and it serves as one more reminder for his caregivers that he has severe food allergies.